Thursday, 6 June 2013

Twitter as an ELT Tool

image credits: Edudemic
For educators and professionals working in the English language teaching sphere, Twitter can be a great tool to aid professional development. Creating a profile on Twitter marks the first steps to developing your own online presence and allows you to build connections with others in your industry within an open community space.
So from helping your students in the classroom to giving your online presence a boost, here are some simple suggestions on how to make sure you’re tweeting the right way!

1. Follow the right crowd
You’ve set up your Twitter account. One of the first things you’ll want to do is start following others in the educational area who share your teaching interests. Accounts with a large amount of followers may be industry leaders, but seeing who your colleagues and peers follow will also help you decide which accounts are most relevant to you.
To help you get started, here are just a few examples.They help keep you updated with everything that’s going on in the world of ELT and blended learning:

2. Share your own expertise
Communication is a two-way street. As well as a research tool to find relevant news, it’s crucial to make sure that you’re also tweeting information which will be of interest to your community. Keep in mind who will be reading your tweets.

3. Reach out to other professionals
One of the best things about Twitter is that it opens channels of communication with people who you may otherwise not get a chance to speak to. Don’t be afraid of approaching people you’ve never met or industry influencers you follow, and responding to interesting tweets they post. Think of Twitter as a way to casually network without the awkwardness of small talk and empty silences. It’s great for connecting with people you may have met in passing at conferences or events. What’s more, meeting someone in real life after you’ve already spoken to them on Twitter immediately establishes some common ground and always helps to make that first meeting feel a bit more familiar.

4. Manage your twitter presence
For those serious about using Twitter as a professional tool, one of the things you’ll definitely want to consider is using a desktop application to manage your profile. Popular options include TweetDeck and Buffer. If you’re too busy during your working day to tweet, the apps allow you to schedule posts in advance and respond to tweets through a user-friendly interface. All of these apps offer free-to-access options, so do take a look!

5. Measure your influence
Finally, if you’re well on your way to becoming a tweet-a-holic, then the last thing you’ll probably want to do is to take a look at how well you’re doing in terms of social engagement. So to make sure that your tweets are reaching all the right people, there are plenty of tools out there which offer statistics  for Twitter. A place to look is Klout which will give you a score between 1-100 to represent your influence.

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